10 SES 12 B, Programmes and Approaches: Strategies - Settings - Tools
Teaching is a complex profession, encompassing a broad array of tasks and roles, related to various pedagogical, didactical, and organizational aspects of educational practice. Teacher education (TE) is supposed to prepare prospective teachers for this complex practice, and provide them with sufficient knowledge and competencies to enter the profession at an adequate level, and with a disposition to continue their professional learning and developing during the whole teaching career.
In present times, more and more, teachers are required to also have an ‘inquiry stance’ or a ‘research attitude’. Such an attitude should foster the uptake of results from academic research in educational practice. However, because of the complex nature of education, a mechanistic or technological application of research might be counter-productive, and results from other research should always be reviewed and adapted in the light of local circumstances and according to ethical and moral decisions about the aims and purposes of education (Biesta, 2016). The local, site-based character of educational research and the importance of inclusion of relevant stakeholders’ perspectives, are reasons to advocate research by teachers themselves, within their own school practices. Moreover, teacher research is seen as a possible way to reduce the theory-practice gap (Admiraal, Smit, & Zwart, 2014).
Interestingly, although the focus of much teacher research is designed to improve student learning, the voices of students themselves in this form of research are largely missing (Groundwater-Smith, 2005). One approach to including student voice is through ‘students as co-researchers’, for example, through participatory action research (PAR) (Smit, 2013). Participatory action research by students and teachers and/or teacher educators collaboratively, on educational issues of mutual interest is a possible approach for attaining several goals: enhancing teachers’ and teacher educators’ awareness of and capacity for enabling student participation; developing a participatory school practice by modeling democracy/citizenship in practice; improving student-teacher relationships; creating a rich context for teachers’ professional development; improving teaching practice through teacher action research in TE and schools; developing motivating and differentiated contexts for school students.
While action research by teachers and in TE and PD programs has been studied (e.g. Hine, 2013; Ponte, 2010), little is known about how to incorporate both teacher research and student participation through PAR in a TE program and subsequently in schools, and what conditions enable or constrain this. Currently, no such programs exist within Dutch university TE. The present project concerns to understand how pre-service teacher students (PSTs) can set-up and conduct research together with their school students and how to design a one-year TE program that prepares and motivates PSTs for this approach.
The study is conducted with two cohorts of PSTs and secondary school students within a one-year-master program at Leiden University, over two consecutive academic years. Their regular capstone research assignment was modified, namely as PAR, in order to promote teacher-learner partnerships, in school-based research.
Accordingly, the TE program and teaching approach was modified, such that it reflects the participatory principle of the teacher-learner partnership. An important principle guiding the study was to align educational practice in the TE program to the intended participatory approach in the research project and school practice of the PSTs.
The current presentation addresses characteristics of the TE program, PSTs learning outcomes, and enabling and constraining factors in the development and enactment of PAR.
- What are the characteristics of a TE program aimed at preparing PSTs for conducting PAR with school students, and fostering school student participation in educational decision-making?
- What learning processes of PSTs towards school student participation are supported through the TE program?
- What factors enable or constrain attaining the goals of the PAR initiative?
Admiraal, W., Smit, B. H. J., & Zwart, R. (2014). Models and design principles for teacher research. IB Journal of Teaching Practice, 2(1), 1-6. Biesta, G. (2016). Improving education through research? From effectiveness, causality and technology to purpose, complexity and culture. Policy Futures in Education, 14(2), 194-210. doi: 10.1177/1478210315613900 Denyer, D., Tranfield, D., & van Aken, J. E. (2008). Developing Design Propositions through Research Synthesis. Organization Studies, 29(3), 393-413. doi: 10.1177/0170840607088020 Groundwater-Smith, S. (2005). Learning by listening: student voice in practitioner research. Paper presented at the International Practitioner Research & Collaborative Action Research Network (CARN) Conference, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Hine, G. S. C. (2013). The importance of action research in teacher education programs. Issues in Educational Research, 23(2), 151-163. Honneth, A. (1995). The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts (J. Anderson, Trans.). Cambridge/Oxford, UK: Polity Press. Honneth, A. (2012). The I in We: Studies in the Theory of Recognition. Cambridge: Polity Press. Kemmis, S., & Grootenboer, P. (2008). Situating praxis in practice. In S. Kemmis & T. J. Smith (Eds.), Enabling Praxis: Challenges for education. Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. Ponte, P. (2010). Action Research as a Tool for Teachers’ Professional Development. In P. Peterson, E. Baker & B. McGaw (Eds.), International Encyclopedia of Education (3rd ed., Vol. Teacher Education – Post-initial Professional Development, pp. 540-547). Oxford: Elsevier. Smit, B. H. J. (2013). Young people as co-researchers: enabling student participation in educational practice. Professional Development in Education, 39(4), 550-573. doi: 10.1080/19415257.2013.796297
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